So, so many family celebrations.
During the holiday seasons, it probably seems like you’re meeting (or re-meeting) a new long-lost uncle every other weekend. That’s the charm (and, some would say, the curse) of the holiday season. Usually, it’s easy to look forward to this yearly catching up. You get to check in on everyone and see what they’re up to!
But those family get-togethers might feel less welcoming when you have hearing loss. What’s the reason for this? How will your hearing loss affect you when you’re at family get-togethers?
Your ability to communicate with others can be seriously impacted by hearing loss, and also the ability of others to communicate with you. The resulting feelings of alienation can be particularly disheartening and stressful around the holidays. Your holiday season can be more fulfilling and pleasant when you employ a few go-to tips formulated by hearing specialists.
Tips to help you enjoy the holiday season
During the holidays, there’s so much to see, like lights, gifts, food and so much more. But there’s also a lot to hear: how Uncle Bob lost his second finger (what?!), how school is going for Julie, how Nancy got promoted, it keeps going.
These tips are meant to help make sure you keep having all of those moments of reconnection during the course of holiday gatherings.
Use video chat instead of phone calls
For family and friends, Zoom video calls can be a fantastic way to keep in touch. That’s particularly true if you have hearing loss. If you have hearing loss and you want to touch base with loved ones over the holidays, try utilizing video calls instead of traditional phone calls.
Phones present an interesting conundrum with regards to hearing loss and communication difficulties. The voice on the other end can feel muffled and difficult to understand, and that can definitely be aggravating. You won’t get better audio quality from a video call, but you will at least have visual cues to help determine what’s being said. From body language to facial expressions, video calls offer additional context, and that can help the conversation flow better.
Tell people the truth
It isn’t uncommon for people to have hearing loss. It’s crucial to let people know if you need help. It doesn’t hurt to ask for:
- People to repeat things, but requesting that they rephrase also.
- Your family and friends to speak a little slower.
- A quieter place to have conversations.
People will be less likely to become irritated when you ask them to repeat themselves if they understand that you have hearing loss. As a result, communication has a tendency to flow a little smoother.
Find some quiet spaces for talking
You will always want to steer clear of certain subjects of conversation during the holidays. So you’re careful not to say anything that would offend people, but instead, wait for them to bring up any sensitive subject matter. In a similar way, you should try to carefully pick areas that are quieter for talking.
Handle it like this:
- You’re seeking areas with less commotion. This will put you in a better position to read lips more successfully.
- Try to find an area of the gathering that’s a little bit quieter. Possibly that means moving away from the noisy television or excusing yourself from locations of overlapping conversations.
- When you choose a place to sit, try to put a back to a wall. That way, at least there won’t be people talking behind you.
- Attempt to find brightly lit spots for this same reason. If there isn’t sufficient light, you won’t be able to pick up on context clues or read lips.
Okay, okay, but what if your niece begins talking to you in the loud kitchen, where you’re filling your mug with hot chocolate? In situations like this, there are a couple of things you can do:
- Suggest that you and your niece go somewhere quieter to talk.
- Politely begin walking towards an area of the gathering place where you can hear and focus better. And remember to let her know this is what you’re doing.
- If there’s music playing in the area, politely ask the host to turn the music down so you can hear your niece a little better.
Speak to the flight crew
So, you’re thinking: what are the effects of hearing loss at family get-togethers that are less apparent? Like the ones that sneak up on you.
Many people fly around during the holidays, it’s especially important for families that are pretty spread out. When you fly, it’s important to comprehend all the directions and communication coming from the flight crew. Which is why it’s really significant to tell the flight crew that you have trouble hearing or experience hearing loss. In this way, the flight crew can offer you visual instructions if needed. When you’re flying, it’s essential that you don’t miss anything!
It can be a lot of work trying to communicate with hearing loss. You will often find yourself exhausted more frequently than before. This means that it’s essential to take regular breaks. By doing this, your ears and your brain will get a rest.
Consider investing in hearing aids
How are relationships impacted by hearing loss? Well, as should be clear by now, in many ways!
One of the greatest advantages of hearing aids is that they will make nearly every interaction with your family during the holidays smoother and more satisfying. And no more asking people to repeat themselves.
Put simply, hearing aids will help you reconnect with your family.
It could take a little time to adjust to your new hearing aids. So it’s advisable that you pick them up well in advance of your holiday plans. Everybody will have a different experience. So speak with us about the timing.
You can get help navigating the holidays
It can feel as if you’re alone sometimes, and that no one can relate to what you’re dealing with when you have hearing loss. It’s as if hearing loss is impacting your personality in this way. But there’s help. We can help you get through many of these challenges.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of trepidation or nervousness (that is, any more than they typically are). At this time of year, you can look forward to seeing, and hearing your friends and family. All you need is the correct strategy.